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28 . 05 . 18

May Contain… life-saving tips and references to sex toys

Words by: Print Power
How the misunderstood subject of anaphylaxis is getting a glamourous lifestyle makeover, thanks to a niche print magazine project.
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Every year an estimated 20 people in the UK die from anaphylaxis – an acute reaction to foods such as peanuts, shellfish and kiwi fruit.

But most of us don’t have the faintest idea how to use an EpiPen – the handheld auto-injecting device that can save lives in the event of a deadly reaction.

Worse still, films like Pulp Fiction have us a bit muddled about whether we should be mainlining adrenaline direct to the heart. Pro tip: don’t.

So, here’s May Contain, a fashion mag-cum-medical-guide, conceived by designer Daniel Kelly to raise awareness about anaphylaxis.

“When I was at college I started my own publication because I believed – and still believe – in the power of tangible print products,” says Kelly. “I wanted something really premium. Something you could touch. And print still has that ability to convey a message in a unique way. Online doesn’t have the same impact as flicking through a product you’re holding in your hands.”

Why else should you care? Its creator gave us five good reasons…

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1. It’s the sexiest allergy magazine out there

The majority of magazines aimed at allergy sufferers are cold, clinical and factual. May Contain is about taking the EpiPen out of an aseptic medical context and making it relatable and engaging for 18- to 25-year-olds.

Too many youngsters are afraid of what people might think of their EpiPen and prefer not to carry it with them. To combat this, May Contain presents the device as more of a fashion accessory than a life-saving essential.

I say a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down! And print’s great for repositioning a message and giving it a sophisticated-looking, lifestyle-focused appeal. Despite the decline in print as a mass-media vehicle, it still has gravitas. There’s a rapidly growing audience for small, independently published magazines, so it seemed only natural to lead with a niche print title followed by an online campaign.

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2. It’s not aimed at parents

Most allergy blogs aren’t written for affected teens or young adults. May Contain is. And it tackles questions you wouldn’t typically find – such as what signs to look out for on a night out. 

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3. It’s full of indispensable dating advice

A lot of people are surprised to hear that I can have a severe allergic reaction just from kissing somebody. It’s an important topic which isn’t really covered enough – and one that people should be more aware of.

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4. It’s an antidote to on-screen depictions

I was shocked to discover how many people die each year due to anaphylaxis. And yet the majority of people in the UK don't know how to use an adrenaline auto-injector correctly. 

I want to counteract Hollywood’s portrayal of the correct way to administer an EpiPen – and make sure that whoever reads May Contain knows how to do it properly.

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5. It’s a great way to learn to spot… a sex toy?

“Is that a dildo?” is probably the weirdest question I’ve been asked, after my auto-injector fell out of my pocket in Amsterdam.

The aim of this magazine is to boost familiarity with the EpiPen and remove some of the social stigma attached to this (admittedly) suggestively shaped device.